Grand finalists crowned
The Kelly Gang has snatched the ultimate prize.
The A-grade grand final held last week was always going to be a close encounter.
With combatants, Plovers and Owls each led by the equal top players in the competition, the outcome was going to depend on who could best stand up to the pressure.
In a fiery first set, John Bajada showed his strength to score an impressive 19-21, 21-16, 21-11 win against Plovers’ Mick Kelly, after a slow start.
Both players adopted an attack style game with Bajada eventually coming out on top.
Plovers’ Jeff Austen then equalised the score with a brilliant straight sets victory over against Bajada in a hard-fought clash.
Austen’s ability to keep the ball in play won him the match.
But it was the doubles which altered the course of the match.
Kelly and Austen were in trouble early, dropping the first game easily to Owls, but then regained their composure to steady and win the second 21-14.
The deciding game was full of drama, with a win giving either team a distinct advantage heading into the reverse singles clashes.
Owls poured on the pressure, attacking any return that was too high, dispatching them accordingly.
They jumped away to a big lead and looked to have the match in their grasp.
With Owls leading at 20-16, the experienced Kelly made a tactical change.
He slowed the tempo of the game and forced the opposition to the net.
The strategy worked, with Owls tensing up, making errors under pressure.
In the most thrilling finish of the night, Plovers gained the initiative, coming from behind to win the deciding game, 22-20 to take a 2-1 lead coming into the final singles round.
Owls’ John Bajada was at his brilliant best to win the first reverse singles, with a straight sets victory against Jeff Austen, levelling the score at 2-2.
With the result hanging on the final singles, Mick Kelly made sure of a Plovers grand final victory with a solid 21-14, 21-11 win against Dean Bajada in a hard-fought affair. B-grade A magnificent performance from top player Daniel Dokka won the B-grade grand final for the Wombats against rivals Mozzies in a high-standard affair.
He had played extremely well all season and showed his class to account for both singles in style.
He had strong support from Bill Sharp, who was in top form to win a singles to take the team to an impressive 3-2 victory.
Mozzies’ Henning Aretz was in fine touch, winning a singles before combining with Peter Williams for an outstanding straight sets doubles victory. C-grade After leading the competition for most of the season, it was no surprise to see Magpies continue their impressive form to score a convincing 3-1 victory against Crickets.
Outstanding junior Jackson Squires showed his class, producing some amazing table tennis to account for both singles in tight matches.
He was well supported by the experienced Kaye Grosser, who won the deciding singles in a fantastic effort to seal the win.
Crickets’ Helen Sharp and Elliot McCallum gave their best effort, but could only manage a win in the doubles.
Leading players — winter.
A-grade: Mick Kelly and John Bajada — 19 wins
B-grade: Daniel Dokka — 21 wins
C-grade: Jackson Squires — 19 wins
Swanpool table tennis grand final results
A-grade The Bomber’s Colin Exton and John Bajada overcame their ‘hoodoo’ for leading all year and then losing grand finals when they won this year’s grand final four rubbers to one against the Eagle’s Jim Renkin and Shaun Murphy.
Bajada was the top player winning both of his singles rubbers and Exton and Murphy winning a singles each. B-grade The Tatong Saint’s Dan Grima and Geoff Draper proved their mettle when it counts, winning the grand final with a score of four rubbers to one against the Swanpool Swan’s Chris Seeley and emergency player Mike Larkin.
Draper played best on the night winning both singles, with Seeley and Grima winning a singles each.
Larkin won only one of the three games against Grima in their singles rubber.
The presentation dinner and awards will be held tonight at the Tatong Tavern starting at 6 pm.
Action: (back) A-grade players Jim Bajada and Jim Renkin; while at the front B-grade players Dan Grima and Chris Seeley play the singles rubbers.
Winning feeling: Plovers’ Mick Kelly helped his team to a grand final victory against the Owls.